For the fifth straight year, Arizona was one of the worst states in the country for highway safety, based on the state’s comparative lack of driving-safety laws. According to the annual report from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS), Arizona has a long way to go towards improving highway safety.

The 2018 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws has been published and Arizona earned a “red” rating. AHAS ranked states according to sixteen laws, including distracted driving, seat belts and more.

According to the report, Arizona has only four of the recommended sixteen laws: ignition interlocks for drunken drivers, child endangerment penalties for drunk drivers with minors in the car, a ban on open containers, and a six-month phase-in for teen drivers.

13 states overall, earned a “red” rating for lacking driving safety laws. However, one state official says the authors of the report need a “reality check.”

Alberto Gutier, the director of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said the report fails to take into account the increasing number of drivers on Arizona’s roads – up more than 700,000 in the last eight years. Gutier admits that “technically we rank at the bottom of their specific criteria, but they don’t take in account specific laws that impact our state more than others, such as reckless driving, DUIs, and speeding.”

If the number of drivers has grown by 700,000 over the past eight years, wouldn’t it make sense to consider stricter road safety laws? More drivers bring more congestion and a higher potential for dangerous behavior and crashes.

Arizona has finished near the bottom of the “Roadmap” rankings for at least five years. Arizona road fatalities have steadily risen over the past several years.

According to AHAS, here are the Highway Safety Laws Needed in Arizona:

-Primary Enforcement Seat Belt Law (Front & Rear)
-All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law
-Rear Facing Through Age 2 Law
-Booster Seat Law
-GDL – Minimum Age 16 for Learner’s Permit
-GDL – Stronger Supervised Driving Requirement
-GDL – Nighttime Restriction
-GDL – Passenger Restriction
-GDL – Age 18 Unrestricted License
-All-Driver Text Messaging Restriction
-GDL Cell Phone Restriction

Arizona’s roads could be made safer and lives could be saved, but it will take action, not excuses.